My first Barnstormer’s show was The Drowsy Chaperone in 2015. I auditioned in NYC for Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone and the rest is history. I have since played Ulla in The Producers and Lola in Damn Yankees. I live in NYC but my family lives in North Conway and we would always try to see local summer theatre when I was growing up. It was always a dream of mine to be a part of a Barnstormer’s show. Not only did I want to perform on the Barnstormer’s stage, I wanted to be a part of that big group of actors that I would see walking together around Tamworth because they all looked like they were best friends for years. And I was right…I was immediately welcomed into the Barnstormer’s community by the warmest, kindest, and most generous company members I have ever met. Throughout my summers in Tamworth, I have met some of my closest friends in a three-week contract at the Barnstormers.
I have so many fond memories of my summers in Tamworth filled with joyous opening nights, afternoons at Lake Chocorua, late night rehearsals in the Gilman, post-show bonfires, and learning from so many talented company members. One of my favorite shows at the Barnstormer’s was The Producers. In any Mel Brooks show, there is a constant theme of pure laughter from the moment you start rehearsal to the end of the run. I remember one blooper during a preview that made me laugh until I cried. At the end of “Springtime for Hitler”, there is a famous swastika spinning pinwheel that Ulla is supposed to be a part of, along with the whole cast. I remember during a preview, I changed into the wrong costume one beat too early and missed my entrance to get in the pinwheel on time. Then I remember trying to jump in, each time this swastika was spinning and missing my chance and trying to change my costume at the same time. It was like crossing 5 lanes of traffic. I never made it into that pinwheel…and mostly because I was laughing too hard. And the audience never knew.
The pandemic greatly affected my life this year, but I am so grateful that I was healthy and able to be a part of the Barnstormers community…even if it was over zoom. I was lucky enough to escape NYC and come up to New Hampshire to spend the summer with my family. Although I was spending time at Lake Chocorua without my normal Barnstormer’s community, it was so refreshing to connect with the community through our online “Love Letters to the Barnstormers” series. I got to meet and work with company members that I have never performed with. I felt immediately connected to the entire community. It was incredibly inspiring to be a part of such a strong community that all came together to support the theatre and share their love for it. In a world full of confusion and fear, participating in The Barnstormer’s digital performances this summer was the most comforting memory I will remember in 2020…it was like coming home. I hope the summer programming brought our audiences as much joy as it brought us.
Although the arts have taken a back seat in this pandemic, I believe that theatre will return stronger than ever. I cannot wait to be in a theatre the day that Broadway is allowed to open. I’m so excited to feel the exhilarating energy and hope that it will spread to its audiences. I believe that there will be a greater appreciation for any live art form, and it will be met with a renaissance of creativity and innovation. I know that every artist is just waiting to share their truth, their stories, their imagination, and their gratitude when theatre opens again. I can’t wait to feel the electricity in the air and share the exuberant joy with The Barnstormer’s community when the lights come up again.
We haven’t seen our Barnstormers family in a long time, so we’re checking in. If you’re part of The Barnstormers community and you’d like to give us an update, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org